What Comic Book Heroes and Immigrants Have in Common: Author talks about The Amazing Absorbing Boy

Posted by Gayatri Bajpai & filed under Books, Comics, People to Watch, Superheroes.

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Fiction, especially of the comic book sort, is like catnip for children. So many unsheared neurons a-firing with creative stimulation! You can put that candy away and let the babysitter go. Nothing compares to the delight of losing one’s childish self in the rich fantasies of stories, let alone picture-stories! Rabindranath Maharaj‘s essay A World of Marvel, about the graphic inspiration for his book The Amazing Absorbing Boy, is sure to take you back to those days when your imagination ran wild with every new story. Here is an excerpt from A World of Marvel, originally published on the Globe and Mail:

I must have seemed bored with the pair’s talk of renovations, because the neighbour pointed to the single interior door on our left and said there were some “nice story books” inside. When I entered the room, I saw a woman sitting on a bed. She was nursing a baby. This was the first time I had seen the mother and her child, and I hesitated by the doorway. “Below the bed,” the neighbour shouted, and the woman spread her legs. In this awkward position, I knelt and pulled out a huge cardboard box. My embarrassment melted as I glimpsed the double row of comic books inside. I dragged the box to the corner of the room, close to a table with three sturdy legs and a fourth that seemed to be a broom handle.

My excitement grew as I rifled through the contents.

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Maharaj’s book, however, is about a Trinidadian teenager who immigrates to Canada following the death of his mother. The influence of graphic novels in The Amazing Absorbing Boy is not just warm and fuzzy, as is clear in these excerpts taken from Andrea Baillie’s article on The Canadian Press.

“The comic book character is always an outsider, somebody who is trying to fit in, whether it’s mutants or X-Men or whatnot,” Maharaj, 54, said in a recent interview.

“The main character, Samuel, said … he felt comfortable (in Union Station) but it reminded him of one of these ‘Star Wars’ bars where there were aliens with three eyes sitting right next to people with snouts, and so on, without noticing the difference.

“Union Station, it’s almost a kind of magical place to him, because there are so many different people there, not seeming to notice the differences. He, of course, notices the differences because that’s part of his function, part of what he wants to do is to understand Canada. … He needs to make sense of this place.”

Read the rest of the article Rabindranath Maharaj explores immigrant experience in ‘Amazing Absorbing Boy’ to find out more. You can get the novel for a mere 30 bucks!

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